Lanterns: The Victory of MLK's American Dream


The Victory of MLK's American Dream

It's #MLKDay, and I was contemplating his “I have a dream quote,” arguably his most famous. This dream of his is essentially a rephrasing of the American dream - the dream of our empire of liberty, the city on a hill, a light unto the nations.

America is not an ethnostate, it does not have its own language, most of its culture and food is not strictly homegrown. But America doesn't need any of that. As long as America has its ideology, its principles, its vision, its dream, then it will always be something special, something greater. A land where all are born equal in the eyes of their Creator, a land where everyone's inalienable rights are recognized. A land where one's color or station or origin need not matter, but only the one thing that truly matters, more than anything: character.

America was founded as an aristocracy, which means "rule by the best." With nobles and landed gentry? No, with what Jefferson called a "natural aristocracy." This is merely another way of saying a meritocracy. "Good breeding," genes, money, education... these things cannot beget merit or worth. Human value derives from one's conduct. You don't need to be rich, brilliant, educated, etc., in order to behave with integrity, virtue, selflessness, industriousness, and humility.

That dream is under attack. Overtly, from the racist screed of the alt-right, that pack of degenerates, failures, and has-beens that should have stayed in the grave the world tossed them into in 1945. But also subtly, from the racial obsession of the left. Theirs is a slightly less traditional racism, a racism in reverse, but racism nonetheless.

All racial advocacy groups are essentially promoting division and anger, keeping the wounds of the increasingly distant past open, in order to blame the innocent for sins they had no hand in, to keep them enthralled with a guilt for crimes they did not commit. It focuses a particular group on anger rather than progress, and even when their legitimate complaints have been met, it must keep fostering a sense of division and crisis and anger, in order to justify the organization (and the leaders at the top who gain power and wealth through its mass mobilization).

It even harms the groups they purport to help, by advocating anger, recrimination, holding onto bitterness from the past, instead of promoting healing, unity, and true equality and togetherness. Healing means forgiving and also forgetting. In addition, by promoting a perpetual victim narrative, it endorses an infantilization of these minority groups, fostering a sense of perpetual helplessness, robbing them of their agency and power to forge their own destiny by telling them they have no such power.

King accomplished his dream. America isn't perfect (and never will be, it is a nation entirely comprised of flawed mortals, not angels), but it has achieved its goal of full legal equality. There are still individuals (on both sides) stuck in the past, seeing race in everything, but there is no institutionalized, legal structure to support it. There are even laws criminalizing discrimination based on race (and gender). That is about as far as legal and political action can take us. The law can only change the law, not the attitudes in individual hearts.

I have known men of every color and creed who died on behalf of this great nation. They died in that desert for the same dream that MLK died for, that men died for in Vietnam, the Choson Reservoir, the beaches of Normandy, at Belleau Wood, at Gettysburg, at Valley Forge, and in countless other places.

A dream of a nation of great men and women, heroes and thinkers and common good folk alike, who, both here and in the hereafter, stand or fall by their actions and choices alone. A free nation, a nation of opportunity, where anyone whose merits shine brighter than their skin color can join in our hall of heroes, where any who conduct themselves well can be entered into our rolls of honor.

We can never create a heaven on earth, but America is the first and best attempt to mimic that aspect of heaven, where only character matters, and that is in no small part why America is the most blessed nation on earth. God loves his righteous children of all shapes and colors, and so too must we, and in large part, we have.

King is dead, as all must eventually die, but America, and its dream, triumphantly endures.

- Joshua Nybo

Written by Joshua Nybo

Christian and veteran, committed to a message of God, unity, tradition, and American principles.

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